Gerd set to saddle up to raise money for Leukaemia Research

Gerd and Donna Ellsmore with their children.

Gerd and Donna Ellsmore with their children. - Credit: Archant

Ely resident, Gerd Ellsmore is gearing up for one of the UK’s largest ever charity cycle rides, to raise money for blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

The 42-year-old has challenged himself to the epic 100 mile route in the Birmingham Bikeathon on Sunday, September 21, and has raised more than £1,900 for the charity.

In September 2012, Gerd’s wife Donna was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. After an ear infection failed to clear up following a round of antibiotics, Donna was referred to Addenbrookes Hospital, in Cambridge, for further tests and a consultation with a haematology specialist.

Results from blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy confirmed that she had leukaemia.

Gerd says: “We were both shocked at how our lives had been turned upside down in a matter of hours. The worst part was sitting our nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter down and explaining that mummy had cancer of the blood and would be in hospital for at least four or five weeks.

“The effect of Donna being in hospital and myself being primary carer was huge and it was difficult for all of us, particularly as the children could not visit the ward Donna was on.”

Donna underwent chemotherapy immediately and achieved remission in February 2013. Gerd continues: “We spent three weeks in Florida in August to recuperate and have some quality time as a family. Donna’s hair was growing back and her strength and health was starting to recover a little.”

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Then in early 2014 Donna began to feel unwell again. Subsequent blood tests revealed the worst - the leukaemia had returned. She began further chemotherapy treatment and is due to undergo a stem cell transplant in August.

Gerd said: “If Donna can remain strong through everything she has been through, then the 100 mile Birmingham Bikeathon challenge is one that I can rise to. I had started riding for fitness a few months before I signed up but was only doing 10-15 mile rides once or twice a week, so this is not going to be an easy task.

“So far I have raised over £1,900 but I want to continue the fundraising efforts. If my efforts can help Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research achieve their goal of beating blood cancer then it will all be worthwhile.”

To support Gerd please visit or text BBKN14 + £amount to 70070

To sign up to the Birmingham Bikeathon please visit